When some people think of weightlifting, they picture gargantuan men with fake tans and oiled torsos flexing before a crowd. Other people may picture super-buff Olympic athletes lifting impossibly heavy barbells above their heads and then dropping them to the ground. Still others may picture burly Viking-like men pulling trucks with ropes.
These images are not necessarily inaccurate. Professional bodybuilders, Olympic power lifters, and World’s Strongest Man competitors are all very strong, and they can all lift an absurd amount of weight.
But most people who do weight training are not buff, and most do not train to get buff. Weightlifting is simply another form of excessive. It’s good for the body, and it’s also good for the brain.
In fact, weightlifting is known to come with cognitive benefits—which is why secondary students taking online high school credits in Ontario may wish to consider doing squats and deadlifts.
Before we delve into the cognitive benefits of lifting weights when in high school, however, let’s clear up some popular myths about weightlifting, starting with the myth that lifting weights can stunt your growth.
Myth #1: Lifting weights stunts growth
This myth has been around for ages, despite there being no scientific evidence to back it up. Children and high school students should not avoid weightlifting for fear that it will stunt their growth because it will not stunt their growth.
Rather, they should avoid weightlifting in improper and dangerous ways. Like all forms of physical exercise, weightlifting with improper form can lead to injury. That’s why high school students interested in weightlifting must learn from coaches, physiotherapists, or personal trainers.
Myth#2:Weightlifting does not improve cardiovascular health
Another common myth about weightlifting at all ages is that it is not good for your heart. The reality is that strength training is once again in this regard precisely like other forms of exercise. That is to say, it is excellent for cardiovascular health. Specifically, strength training reduces pressure on the arteries, reducing heart-related problems and diseases (as well as the risk of stroke.)
Cognitive Benefits of Lifting Weights
To excel in school at the secondary level and beyond, it helps if students maintain good cognitive health. Strength training can improve cognitive health. Therefore, strength training can help students excel.
Strength training comes with quite a few cognitive health benefits, among them:
- Improved memory
- Reduced brain fog
Strength training has been shown to help protect the brain from degeneration in specific subregions of the hippocampus, which is involved not only in storing long-term memories but also in forming memories that resist being forgotten. A good memory is essential to students wanting to excel in their courses, especially in courses like biology, chemistry, and psychology.
School can be stressful, and stress can cause brain fog, when our thinking feels sluggish, unclear, and fuzzy. Lifting weights releases brain fog, which not only improves our mood but also helps us think more clearly, and when we can think more clearly, we can do better in school.
So get a gym membership, if you don’t have one already, learn how to lift weights properly, and buy yourself some protein powder!